The Truth About Being Authentic

I’ve been doing some unexpected self-discovery this week. Or, you could say re-discovery. All because of a kid’s movie. That’s right. A kid’s movie. Some of the best lessons in life can be found in these little gems. Our family watched the Trolls movie last weekend. It’s a delightful show about a troll named Poppy who is an undeniable optimist at heart. She, like most of the trolls, loves to sing and dance and hug, and she has an uncanny ability to look on the bright side of everything and believe things will always work out for the best.

Through the majority of the movie, Poppy keeps up her optimism. She tells her pessimist friend, Branch, she knows the world isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows, but she’d like to believe it mostly is. As in real life, bad things happen, and at her darkest moment, Poppy lets the hurt of the world and all the villains overcome her. She gives up and literally turns grey as her usual bright pink sparkly color fades away. As the scene unfolds, the rest of the trolls realize if Poppy has given up it must be over and they turn grey as well.

It is at this pivotal moment when Branch, (who’d turned grey long ago) steps up and realizes what his words have done. Up to this point he had criticized her for being so optimistic, for always looking on the bright side refusing to see the bad in the world. He’d criticized her for singing and dancing in the face of adversity, and he realized as he looked around how much everyone needed her just as she was. He realized how he had needed her too, how she’d helped him find his lost happiness while he’d been cutting her down.

So, as the hero does in musicals, he breaks out into song. Singing a rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors”, he takes Poppy’s hand and brings back her color, gets her to join him in song, and in turn, brings back his and everyone else’s color. He then tells her, “Happiness is inside all of us, right? Sometimes you just need someone to help you find it.” In this case, it was Poppy being her authentic self who saved the day.

The Truth About Being Authentic

It takes courage. In a world full of people who praise and appreciate normal it’s hard to stand out, be different. The frustrating dichotomy of this truth is that secretly people admire authenticity, but it takes someone of equal courage and confidence to admit it.

People secretly crave authenticity but publicly humiliate and shame it.

While growing up people try to beat it out of us. We’re told to be true to ourselves. “Just be yourself.” When we are our authentic selves, though, people are quick to cut down what they perceive as different or strange, because people are afraid of what they don’t understand.

“People throw rocks at things that shine.” -Taylor Swift

Everyone gets made fun of for some things. And yet, over time, the more it happens, you begin to adapt. I’ve been made fun of for how I dress, how I talk, how I dance. All various forms of self-expression. So, I did what most people do, I adapted.

I learned there was a time and place to be myself. Not at work. Not around certain people. And yet, through the years, I felt like I was slowly losing parts of myself. The more I would try and accommodate a certain audience the more I felt like a phony, like I was playing a part rather than living my life. The more this world began to weigh me down.

And then this little cartoon reminded me of something. The world needs more authenticity.

What have you been criticized for?

Have you been told you’re too sensitive?

You have a heart that can empathize with the suffering of this world. You can take steps to affect change because you feel what needs to be done. That’s a beautiful gift. Be your sensitive self.

How about too loud?

People need someone to speak up for those who won’t. For those who are too afraid. Be the voice of the meek. Speak up for the weary. Someone needs your words today.

Too quiet?

The world needs you, silent observer, to notice what others pass by. And being quiet is an advantage because you know the opportunity to captivate an audience is rare, therefore you choose your words wisely.

Too slow?

You, wise tortoise know that life is a journey, not a race. You’re here to enjoy it, not get to the end first.

Too goofy?

What a marvelous gift, to make people laugh! Laughter has countless benefits, most importantly, keeping you and those around you emotionally and physically healthy. Keep those LOL’s coming!

Too sparkly?

You, like Poppy, know life isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows, but you’d like to think it mostly is. And, you know sunshine reflects off the sparkles, thereby creating more light. Keep it up. The world needs all the light it can get.

The world needs your authentic self. Though people may criticize you for it, they crave it, like the belly craves food. So be brave. Be you. In the end, they’ll thank you.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this, please share.

I’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts about this post in the comments.

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Copyright © 2017 Katherine J. Wheeler. All rights reserved.

4 thoughts on “The Truth About Being Authentic”

    1. Thank you! I totally agree and wish I had known this much sooner as well. Now I only hope to be able to instill this confidence in my children.

  1. You done well. I enjoyed it very much and as for your wild child, she is a doll. You can see the twinkle in her eyes. Katie always be your self. Love you Babe.
    Grandma W.

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